Archive for category: Blog

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Travers Tool Mobile Site

EasyAsk customer, Travers Tool Company, has launched a new mobile commerce site. The mobile optimized site presents the search engine, category structure and products in a more friendly way for the smaller screen real estate of mobile devices.

The new mobile platform will be especially convenient for finding product attributes and specifications when a PC is not close by. Also, crews on construction sites, repair teams on the road, and others should find this new format especially convenient.

EasyAsk powers the search, navigation and merchandising for the new mobile site and has been used for years on the main Travers Tool Company e-commerce site, Travers.com. And best of all, the Travers.com mobile site is automatically “Siri-enabled” due to EasyAsk.

Go to the Travers site on your mobile phone (www.travers.com will recognize you are using a mobile browser and re-direct you to the mobile site).  On the home page, touch the search box, press the microphone button on your keypad and speak your request. Say, “solid carbide jobbers drill”, hit Go, and you will find the exact drill bits for that search. It works like a charm.

 

 

Also note how effectively Travers uses the screen real estate on the mobile site. It is very different from their main site and is optimized for FINDING PRODUCTS. The search box is prominent. Why? Because while search is important on an e-commerce site, search is CRITICAL on a mobile commerce site, as I spoke of in this blog post a few months back.

 

 

Travers Tool is an amazing organization. They continue to grow and take market share due to a strong focus on serving their customers, and the delivery of e-commerce services that outclass their competitors, including their new mobile commerce site.

The Travers mobile site it another indication on how simple it is for small and medium businesses to deliver competitive advantages using EasyAsk natural language search, navigation and merchandising.

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SKU Processing: Optimizing search results to maximize conversion

As much as we like to promote natural language long-tail searches here at EasyAsk, the unfortunate reality of the e-commerce market is that Google (and others) have taught us to search wrong. Many visitors go to a web store and do what I call SSTN – simple search then navigation.

But what if your site has many thousands of SKUs or Items? What if your site carries many of the same product, but in different sizes, composition, color or brand? A simple search could return hundreds of undifferentiated products that leave the visitor with the daunting task of sifting through those many results just to find the item they are looking for. How quickly will they abandon the site? I’d bet on 3 seconds or less.

Luckily there are techniques that can help you reduce the “search result overload” on your visitors. We call it SKU processing. Let’s show you how it works by looking at the e-commerce site for Travers Tools.  A very common search in their business is – “titanium drill bits.” So if we do this search on we get:

 

 

Travers only returns 23 products, even though they have thousands of different titanium drill bits. EasyAsk allowed Travers to group all the SKUs (or items) for each product into blocks. The blocks are organized such that the visitor can choose a particular drill bit style, drill down, and then select the specific SKU based on size, length, etc. (see below) This organization makes it easier for the visitor to choose the right product, providing a better customer experience.

 

 

If you go to many other hardware and tool retail sites, you will get hundreds of results for “titanium drill bits”, making it incredibly hard for the visitor to then find the ones they really want. And if we look at the products, many of them are the same. They are just different sizes and lengths.

But wait, there’s more. What if the search is more of a long tail search? In this case there might be a length – ¼” titanium drill bits. EasyAsk will produce similar first level results as the above example – product blocks or groupings (see the first image below).

 

 

But when you drill down to a product (look at the second image below), EasyAsk carries forward the length from the search, showing specific SKUs for ¼” bits.

 

 

In this case, EasyAsk remembered the “context” of the visitors search and carried that forward to the product drill down. This again simplifies the buying process for the visitor, leading the customer directly to the product they were seeking.

Carrying forward the context is one of the hidden beauties of EasyAsk natural language search. SKU processing, search result simplification and context carry-forward is something you can and should take advantage of to improve customer conversion and customer experience.

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EasyAsk at SuiteWorld 2012

We at EasyAsk will be very busy at the upcoming NetSuite SuiteWorld 2012 event next week in San Francisco.  At this event we will be showing our eCommerce Edition for NetSuite and Business Edition for NetSuite.  In addition, we will be unveiling a new EasyAsk Quiri solution for NetSuite (look out for the news on that!).  Click here for more information on what we will be showing for e-commerce customers.

In the past year and a half, our e-commerce business on NetSuite has grown dramatically.  As our news note said, we now have dozens of customers in a variety of industries and retail sectors.  Each has seen substantial increases in customer conversion rates and order sizes after implementing EasyAsk.  And our team has worked hard to reduce our already fast implementation times.  EasyAsk has established itself as the 3rd party search, navigation and merchandising solution of choice for NetSuite Ecommerce customers.

Please be sure to visit us in Booth EX-111 where we will be able to demonstrate our innovative and game changing products for e-commerce, business intelligence and mobile solutions.

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EasyAsk Named Cool Vendor

It is always great to be considered Cool.  But that is usually a personal distinction.  Now Cool is an attribute given to software vendors such as EasyAsk.

EasyAsk is proud to announce that we have been included in the list of “Cool Vendors” in the ‘Cool Vendors in Analytics and Business Intelligence, 2012’* report by Gartner, Inc.  We feel this is an accomplishment due to our products, our team, and most of all our customers.

As we look at our market position today, EasyAsk has dramatically expanded its solution footprint and customer reach in the past 12 months.  Direct sales to customers have grown.  We’ve forged new solution partnerships with IBM Big Insights and SugarCRM while expanding our partnerships with Infor and NetSuite.  We have also more than doubled the number of channel partners we work with, including our distribution partnership with BrainSell in the SugarCRM market.

Our eCommerce edition product continues to be the clear solution leader in e-commerce search, navigation and merchandising.  No other vendor can come close to performing the long-tail natural language searches that EasyAsk does, nor can any vendor make merchandising as easy to use as EasyAsk.

And our new Quiri product is revolutionizing the way people use mobile devices and mobile corporate applications.  Quiri is the only solution on the market that provides Siri-like voice-enabled natural language tools that work with your corporate data and applications.

Thank you, Gartner.  And a special thank you to our customers and partners.

 

*  Gartner “Cool Vendors in Analytics and Business Intelligence, 2012” by Bill Gassman, Douglas Laney, Andreas Bitterer, David Newman, Rita L. Sallam, James Richardson, 27 April 2012

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

 

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EasyAsk Brings Intelligence and Control Lucene/Solr Can’t Touch

Lucene/Solr is great for developers that enjoy tinkering with code as if it’s DNA and you’re working on the Captain America Super-Soldier Serum. But what if you don’t have the time or resources? What if you’re a company that cannot afford the manpower or hours needed to work on the open-source, Java-based search library? What if… what you need is a rich, mature product with the most accurate search engine on the planet?

Apache Lucene, for those who are unclear on the difference, is the library and Apache Solr is a layer of code on top of Lucene that turns it into a search platform, adding management and website APIs that are tailored for e-commerce. With Lucene/Solr you get a basic search engine, that requires a large IT staff or an army of consultants. It takes a lot of time, experience and troubleshooting to get the results you’re hoping for.

But let’s say you’ve outgrown the basic search functionality, or get frustrated having to build everything you need. And you’ve noticed how the e-commerce community has shifted to mobile sites with voice-recognition, and the abilities of open-source seem more and more limited. So wouldn’t you be tired of continuing to compete with every other e-commerce company that is trying to do the same thing with the same keyword-hampered technology? Why wouldn’t you want to stand out from the pack?

Where Lucene/Solr falls short, EasyAsk excels.

Companies like IBM, Magento, NetSuite, Infor and more have partnered with EasyAsk for a reason. The powerful Natural Language search-box and easy-to-use merchandising tools allow you to perform tasks a keyword-based software (Lucene/Solr) can’t even dream of. The intuitive site-search, dynamic navigation, and merchandising software utilizes Natural Language to increase conversion rates. It understands the intent of the search and delivers faster, more accurate results than keyword or navigation-driven softwares. The limitations you find with Lucene/Solr are simply not found with EasyAsk.

From understanding numeric units, to intelligent term relaxation, to merchandising capabilities like: Cross-Sell/Up-Sell promotions, EasyAsk has proven to bring something to the table that Lucene and Solr just can’t touch. Not to mention with EasyAsk you’re a step ahead of the game.

Take a quick look around and see which direction the technological world is headed. IBM’s Watson, Apple’s Siri, Nuance’s Dragon-Go, Panasonic’s Smart-TVs, and many more have all made the jump to a Natural Language Processing engine. It’s just a smarter way to connect with your customers.

And EasyAsk has been a leader in Natural Language for over a decade.

For example, on an EasyAsk-powered site, you can use your iPhone 4S or Android to verbally search for products on their mobile-sites. And thanks to the natural language engine that powers EasyAsk, they’ll find exactly what they’re looking for. Go to Lands’ End’s site on your phone, type-in or speak a product you’d like to see and a price constraint (i.e. Black Sleeveless Dresses for under $100) and see for yourself how powerful EasyAsk is. You’re not going to find that functionality with an open-source, keyword-based software.

Also the EasyAsk Commerce Studio puts the power back in the hands of the merchandiser. Want to add a new brand for your site, or cross-sell a couple of items? No problem, it literally takes a minute. To see what I’m talking about click here.

Look, if you want to keep trying to reinvent the wheel, go right ahead. But if you’re tired of sputtering in a Model-T and you’d rather upgrade to a search that’s better, the wave of the future, comes with merchandising capabilities that Lucene/Solr just can’t match, come take a look at EasyAsk, the Search That Means Business.

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Siri-Cized Sites With Voice-Enabled Mobile Shopping? EasyAsk Customers Are Already There

The technological world seems to be making a shift. It began with those three days in February 2011, when IBM’s Watson computer competed on Jeopardy! (By the way, the natural language super-computer trounced the shows two biggest champions!) And culminated with Apple releasing Siri in their latest model of cell phone, the iPhone 4S on October 14th, 2011.

You can feel the buzz in the air, a change in the winds, that a paradigm-shift is coming. The ability to tell your electronics what to do.

So wouldn’t it make sense that this same technology could be used by everyday consumers to shop on their smart-phones? Isn’t it logical, that the next step will be the ability to use this natural language technology to search and purchase items on your favorite website? That this technology would improve user experience, retention and increase conversion rates? Wouldn’t you want your favorite sites to be Siri-cized?

Well, if you’re a client of EasyAsk, this power is already at your fingertips… err… voice-box.

EasyAsk-powered sites such as: Lands’ End, Harbor Freight Tools, J. Jill, True Value and Coldwater Creek, are already Siri-cized. Customers of these and other EasyAsk clients can use their iPhone 4S or Android to verbally search for their products on their mobile-sites. And thanks to the natural language engine that powers EasyAsk, they’ll find exactly what they are looking for.

Now, I hear the nay-sayers, griping about the times that Siri doesn’t work as well as they want. First of all, Siri is cutting-edge technology, so of course it’s still working out a few of the kinks. But here’s where EasyAsk differs. With Siri, the options are so varied, it’s difficult for the software to search through the entire Internet to find the right answer every time. With EasyAsk, the data needed is pulled from the company’s product catalogue. So, if you’re on Lands’ End, you’re going to be searching for items Lands’ End is known for having, like swimwear, shoes, luggage, etc. If you’re on Harbor Freight Tools, you’re going to search for items they’re known for having; air compressors, engines, toolboxes or various tools. EasyAsk understands the context of your request and retrieves the right product on the first page.

This isn’t the future; it’s the present. EasyAsk sites are and have been ahead of the game, because EasyAsk has been mastering Natural Language for over a decade. Feel free to find out more here.

So go ahead, grab your iPhone 4S or Android 2.1, jump on Lands’ End and get ready for summer by shopping for a new bathing suit or try True Value and order that new grill you’ve been waiting for. It’s as simple tapping the search box, tapping the microphone, and saying what you’re looking for.

Welcome to the future.

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Oracle Welcomes ATG and Endeca, Is Your Site Welcome Too?

You’re currently a customer of Endeca. Your site has been expensive to maintain, but it has worked well enough and you see no need to make a change. Recently however, changes have been made to the company who runs your search. Changes that could affect your relationship and your ability to do business.

In October of 2011, Oracle acquired Endeca, a leading provider of unstructured data management, Web commerce and business intelligence solutions. A year before that, they acquired the Art Technology Group, Inc. (ATG), an e-commerce software platform that is one of the industry’s top-ranked, commerce solutions. Essentially packaging a search and platform duo. But… What if you don’t own both pieces of the puzzle? What if you’re an Endeca customer, but not an ATG customer? Is your site in danger? Is your business in danger?

Before Oracle acquired these pieces of technology, Endeca and ATG were open – meaning they worked cooperatively with other solutions in the market. Didn’t matter who you had for an e-commerce platform, be it Magento, IBM’s WebSphere, in-house, etc., you could still work with Endeca.

Is that still the case?

If recent history proves prophetic, then probably not. Oracle has a history of closing the proprietary loop when they acquire a company, making them a part of the Oracle stack. If you are inside that stack, then your feeling of security should be warm-and-fuzzy. But what if you’re not inside the loop? What if you’re currently using Endeca for your search and have a platform not named ATG? Will Endeca continue to fit? Should you be concerned?

If you are concerned and don’t feel like being at the mercy of Oracle, what can you do about it?

Here’s the good news:

You do have options and one of them can kill two birds with one stone: Get out from under Oracle’s thumb and upgrade your search by switching to EasyAsk. EasyAsk provides a user-friendly and cost-effective way to make complex business data accessible to anyone. With EasyAsk’s natural language engine, it’s Apple’s Siri and IBM’s Watson rolled into one best-of-breed, site-search, navigation and merchandising tool.

In other words, it’s common sense brought to search. It also happens to be platform-agnostic, easy to maintain, plus it puts the power in the hands of the merchandisers, costing far less than Endeca, and touting the lowest total cost of ownership in the business. To learn more about e-commerce search and how it can impact your site, please read our paper, The ABC’s of E-Commerce Search.

So… You’re an Endeca customer, but you are also now a customer of Oracle, the 4th largest software company in the world. Will your company get lost in the shuffle? Maybe yes, maybe no, and you’re welcome to stick around and find out, but… Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to “Find, Analyze, and Understand” that it’s time to switch to a Search That Means Business.

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It’s elementary Watson . . . it’s all about Siri!

Without trying to be too dramatic here, everything has now changed.  The world has shifted.  We are in the midst of a technology paradigm shift.  Thank you, Siri.

Here’s the how and the why of it.  As CEO of EasyAsk, I’m certainly attentive to my company’s needs.  I have to confess, I’m one of those guys who checks on my business at the traffic light.  Yes, I know.  I’m sorry.  But, as one of those guys, I’ve also seen plenty of others driving down the road, weaving across the lanes, and working their smartphones while driving – an accident waiting to happen.

Siri fixes all of that.  Yes, there have been dictation products on the market for awhile, allowing you to press a button, dictate your text or email, send and done.   But what Siri can do goes beyond what you have seen on a smartphone before – it understands the intent of the question.  Why?  Because there’s a Natural Language engine embedded within Siri.

We all cheered when IBM Watson won on Jeopardy!  And we might see what Watson can do when applied to large problems like healthcare.  But Watson ran on a network of computers that could run the Starship Enterprise.  Siri sits in the very palm of your hand using the multitude of services available on the Internet.  Siri will be in the hands of a hundred million consumers.  Watson will cost a hundred million dollars.  Okay, maybe not that much, but you get my drift.

Back to the paradigm shift concept – With Apple Siri on every iPhone or iPad and eventually on your computers, EVERYONE will reap the benefits of voice recognition on top of natural language.  It will become the standard way we all communicate with our computers, tablets, smartphones, and more – interactively, intelligently, naturally.  Ask your question EXACTLY as you would to a live human being and you’ll get what you asked for.  This is the advantage of natural language.  THIS is the paradigm shift.

But how does this apply to the business world?  That’s where EasyAsk steps in. 

Want your customers to find products faster and easier?  Give them a better shopping experience no matter where they search from – iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, Android, etc.  Allow them to ask for exactly what they want, ‘Ladies blue blouses under $50’.  Magically, blue blouses start appearing. EasyAsk gives your e-commerce site that, and so much more.

Now take it one step farther.  Apply this concept to your business..  You are walking into an investor meeting and want the latest sales figures.  Push a button on your smartphone and ask, ‘What was closed revenue versus forecast last month’? EasyAsk displays both the actual and forecasted sales figures!  You’ve got the answer and your investors know you are on top of things.  Now you’re talkin’! (Pun intended). 

We’ve now taken real business productivity and made it ubiquitous.  You can find the right information faster via the same natural language interface on your smartphone and your computer.  We’re interactive, we’re intelligent and it’s all natural.  Paradigm shift indeed.  Give us a call or send us a note.  We’ll help you get it done, naturally.

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Magento, EasyAsk and IJHANA

IJHANA is a global technology consulting firm that delivers progressive eCommerce sites using Magento Enterprise and Magento Go, along with Magento Extensions. IJHANA is a Magento Silver Partner and have an unmatched understanding of the Magento e-commerce plaform.

IJHANA released a new case study on integrating EasyAsk eCommerce Edition with Magento, and the benefits one client received from the EasyAsk natural language search, navigation and merchanding. Click here to read this case study.

According to Kevin Calloway, Managing Partner at IJHANA:

“The e-commerce catalog was characterized by complex descriptions and terminology requiring a search product that intuitively knew what the visitor was looking for.  The EasyAsk natural language solution was easy to implement and dramatically expanded the search and navigation capabilities, helping the site convert customers faster.”

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EasyAsk and Magento

This morning we officially announced our partnership with Magento – now part of eBay’s X.Commerce division and a driving force inside the X.Commerce platform.  Magento merchants using any edition of the Magento Commerce platform can now plug-in EasyAsk and improve customer conversion with our natural language search, navigation and merchandising.  To learn more about how EasyAsk embraces and enhances the Magento platform, please visit our Magento partner page.

We have been working with Magento for a while now and have a wildly successful customer implementation at a large, national tools retailer.  IJHANA, a leading Magento solution partner, implemented the solution at the tools retailer, and is thrilled with EasyAsk.  According to Kevin Calloway, Managing Partner at IJHANA:

“The e-commerce catalog was characterized by complex descriptions and terminology requiring a search product that intuitively knew what the visitor was looking for.  The EasyAsk natural language solution was easy to implement and dramatically expanded the search and navigation capabilities, helping the site convert customers faster.”

We are thrilled to be a part of the Magento and X.Commerce communities and look forward to working with many more Magento customers and merchants.

Thanks,

John-

Ready to see how EasyAsk's eCommerce solution can help you? Request a demo!